Corrections

After the passage of Megan's Law in 1994, state governments began imposing residency restrictions on registered sex offenders. Most of these statutes prohibit sex offenders from living within a set distance of schools or daycare centers. Some states impose additional restrictions, such as prohibiting sex offenders from living near public parks, youth centers, churches, or other places youth may congregate. Some states lack residency restriction statutes, allowing local governments to determine their own restrictions.

Even as partisan tension increases in advance of the 2016 elections, national policymakers on both sides of the aisle can cite one area where many find broad agreement: The need for comprehensive criminal justice reform. In Washington, D.C., growing momentum behind efforts to reform the criminal justice system has pushed the issue to the forefront of lawmakers’ agendas for the fall. For example, pressure has intensified to reauthorize federal funding for programs that support successful reentry of formerly incarcerated individuals. This momentum for change to the federal system reflects lessons learned from states where system innovations and improvements have made an impact on recidivism and other criminal justice outcomes over the past decade.

Tens of millions of Americans have criminal records, and for even the most qualified among them, finding a job can be incredibly difficult. When these people remain unemployed, it’s bad for them, certainly, but also bad for their communities. Thus, a number of states and localities have adopted so-called “Fair Hiring” practices, which seek to ensure job applicants with criminal records can show a potential employer their qualifications before being required to reveal their criminal histories.

CSG South

A vital tool for policymakers across the region, Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) offer a snapshot of conditions on a number of issues. Published annually, the CDRs track a multitude of revenue sources, appropriations levels, and performance measures in Southern states, and provide a useful tool to state government officials and staff. CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, comparative revenues and revenue forecasts, education, Medicaid, and transportation.

The Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act addresses the penalties and disqualifications that individuals face incidental to criminal sentencing. The Act's provisions are largely procedural, and are designed to rationalize and clarify widely accepted policies and practices.

The Supreme Court held unanimously in January in Holt v. Hobbs that an inmate’s rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Rights Act were violated when he was not allowed to grow a half-inch beard in accordance with his religious beliefs. This case will affect correctional institutions with no-beard policies and may provide lower court’s guidance in evaluating the act’s claims in the corrections and land use context. Grooming policies at the Arkansas Department of Corrections prohibit inmates who do not have a particular dermatological condition from growing beards. Gregory Holt’s request to grow a half-inch beard in accordance with his Muslim religious beliefs was denied.

The CSG Justice Center, in partnership with Texas A&M University, released a study commissioned by Texas state leaders interested in understanding the impact of the state's reforms of its juvenile justice system. This unprecedented study compares the impact on youth under community supervision versus incarceration in state correctional facilities. Closer to Home: An Analysis of the State and Local Impact of the Texas Juvenile Justice Reforms, which draws on an unprecedented dataset of 1.3 million individual case records spanning eight years, shows youth incarcerated in state-run facilities are 21 percent more likely to be rearrested than those who remain under supervision closer to home. When they do reoffend, data show that youth released from state-run secure facilities are three times more likely to commit a felony than youth who are under community supervision.

This act provides allows a judge to use discretion when sentencing a veteran or servicemember, who has been diagnosed with a mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder and who is charged with a non-violent offence to undergo a counseling/treatment program rather than be sent to jail. However, if an individual does not complete the program they can then be sentenced to jail time.

CSG South

A vital tool for policymakers across the region, Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) offer a snapshot of conditions on a number of issues. Published annually, the CDRs track a multitude of revenue sources, appropriations levels, and performance measures in Southern states, and provide a useful tool to state government officials and staff. CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, comparative revenues and revenue forecasts, education, Medicaid, and transportation.

On February 10, federal judges granted California two more years to reduce its already overcrowded prison population. The ruling comes from a long-running lawsuit to increase inmate medical care in the state. California still sits about 5,000 inmates above the cap that was originally set by the court, which means they must bring their prison population to around 112,000 inmates by February 2016.

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